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[Wittrs] Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer and Behaviorism [message #4262] Sat, 03 April 2010 22:45 Go to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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... I had not realized this existed. Has anyone read this?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0631189564/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=4865 39851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0226904253& pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0A9YABH08AD158B28QCM


Regards.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer and Behaviorism [message #4263 is a reply to message #4262] Sun, 04 April 2010 04:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anna Boncompagni is currently offline  Anna Boncompagni
Messages: 18
Registered: August 2009
Junior Member
Yes. It should be read keeping in mind part II of the Investigations and On
certainty. I found very interesting the remarks about the inner and the
outer, as they put a new light on the problem of the knowledge of the
others.
(Hello Sean!)

AnnaB

2010/4/4 Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com>

> ... I had not realized this existed. Has anyone read this?
>
>
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0631189564/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=4865 39851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0226904253& pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0A9YABH08AD158B28QCM
>
>
> Regards.
>
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
> Assistant Professor
> Wright State University
> Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
> SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
> Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html
>
>
>
>
> ==========================================
>
> Need Something? Check here: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/
>
>
>

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[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer and Behaviorism [message #4264 is a reply to message #4262] Sun, 04 April 2010 08:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:
>
> ... I had not realized this existed. Has anyone read this?
>
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0631189564/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=4865 39851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0226904253& pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0A9YABH08AD158B28QCM
>

Yikes, $44 for a 217 page paperback -- talk about inflation and/or trading on a famous name! Nevertheless, the book looks interesting. I was unaware of it before. It would be good to see what he had to say, at the end of his life, about some of the issues many of us have been discussing here.

Has anyone here had the chance to read it and is there any useful input that can be provided secondhand on the subject of these discussions from its pages?

Sean, have you picked up a copy already?

SWM

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[Wittrs] Wittgenstein Meets Searle and Dennett [message #4265 is a reply to message #4264] Sun, 04 April 2010 10:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
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Does anyone have an opinion on where Wittgenstein would have come down on the Searle-Dennett dispute which has been raging for some time now on this list (and some earlier ones)?

Both Searle and Dennett refer with respect to the work and contributions of Wittgenstein. Does either of their positions fit better with a Wittgensteinian view?

Searle is on record as saying Wittgenstein made a "massive mistake" by disconnecting philosophy from theorizing so we know there is at least some disagreement between the two thinkers and yet much of his work (from talk of "Backgrounds" to his emphasis on the need to break out of existing linguistic categorizations when talking about mind to his general focus on the role and importance of language, itself, in how we think about things seem highly reminiscent of Wittgensteinian thought).

Dennett, for his part, has been accused of offering a behaviorist account (or a behaviorist-consistent account) of mind becaue he wants to focus on the way(s) in which the brain's processes interact to produce consciousness rather than on the subjectness of consciousness itself and, of course, Wittgenstein has similarly been accounted a behaviorist by some. Moreover, Dennett has, as I recall, explicitly referenced Wittgenstein in terms of some of his ideas about consciousness, specifically re: the different way we use our terms vis a vis conscious phenomena (e.g., noting that assignment of intentionality is more about the stance or orientation we take to certain kinds of entities than it is about the occurrence in the entity of some specific phenomenon).

Being of a Wittgensteinian bent myself, I have often seen echoes of Wittgenstein in the claims of both later philosophers. And yet there's no denying that both are doing things Wittgenstein eschewed and delving into areas he seemed to prefer to stay clear of. Both Searle and Dennett feel perfectly at home in considering and developing theoretical accounts of mind and in making more or less rigorous arguments (with Searle hewing to a more classically tight approach in that he casts some of his claims syllogistically). Wittgenstein, of course, seemed to prefer to avoid formal argumentation and debate, even in his earlier years, in favor of aphorisms and articulated insights about the way things are. From these one can develop a picture of how the world works on, at least, a linguistic/conceptual level though, because Wittgenstein was anti-theory in his approach, any debate about his pictures of things seems to devolve into competing insights which one's interlocutors either see or don't see.

But then, in the end, isn't all argumentation like that anyway? After all, as we've seen repeatedly on this list, one can argue from premises to conclusions until one is blue in the face and yet, in the end, if the other side in the dispute doesn't see it (for whatever reason), no progress can be made. So in some ways, Wittgenstein just tossed the contrivance of logical argument/debate aside in favor of getting right to the issue of what we get, what we understand.

And yet very creditable philosophers, like Searle and Dennett, persist in following a different, more traditional philosophical path. Would Wittgenstein have simply waved them off and moved on or would that have been, as so many on lists like these like to say, just so much "hand waving"?

Would Wittgenstein have found in Searle and Dennett kindred spirits or just hopelessly retrogressive thinkers after the revolution in philosophical inquiry he hand waved in?

SWM

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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer and Behaviorism [message #4270 is a reply to message #4263] Sun, 04 April 2010 12:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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... good to see you are still out there, Anna! 
 
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




________________________________
From: Anna Boncompagni <anna.boncompagni@gmail.com[/email]>
To: wittrsamr@freelists.org[/email]
Sent: Sun, April 4, 2010 4:31:15 AM
Subject: [Wittrs] Re: [C] Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer and Behaviorism


Yes. It should be read keeping in mind part II of the Investigations and On certainty. I found very interesting the remarks about the inner and the outer, as they put a new light on the problem of the knowledge of the others.
(Hello Sean!)

AnnaB

[Updated on: Fri, 09 July 2010 21:27] by Moderator

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[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer and Behaviorism [message #4271 is a reply to message #4264] Sun, 04 April 2010 13:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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(Reply to Stuart)

... I had not realized that these remarks on psychology were so voluminous. All I have on my shelf are the Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, Volume II. I'm such an idiot, I didn't even realize that they were "Volume II."

What happened is this: I am revising a conference paper dealing with Wittgenstein's views on aesthetics and Dworkin's views about legal interpretation. In doing this paper, one of my central theses about Wittgenstein's approach to aesthetical judgments was that it is only an example of a more general approach to all sorts of things. In short, he is describing a kind of judgment (or cognition) used for all sorts of things in life. Take, for example, Wittgenstein's approach to "knowing others" (imponderable evidence). Simply, the way that one knows how to appreciate a Beethoven is the same (or very similar) to the way that one knows his or her child. So, as I was doing my paper, I was re-reading Monk's Chapter 11 in How To Read Wittgenstein, which is important for me. Previously, when Monk had cited to Wittgenstein's Remarks on Psychology, I hadn't paid attention to which works he was talking about. When checking quotes and sources for my paper,
however, I had noticed something peculiar: there was something called "last writings on" philosophy of psychology which were different from, simply, "remarks on."  So I got curious.

Long story short: I just bought 3 books: (a) Remarks, Volume I; (b) Last writings, Volume I; and (c) Last writings, Volume II. (I already have Remarks, volume II).

One of the things that should perhaps be kept in mind is that the last writings, volume II, appears to be manuscripts (looking at the table of contents). One should always keep in mind whether published Wittgenstein-offerings are straight from notebooks (e.g., On Certainty), are from manuscripts, or are from a typescript. As I understand this from Monk's biography, a manuscript would be considered a middle-level stage in how he "brought his thoughts to market," so to speak. So, last writings, vol. 2, should be a collection of notebook writings that predated the manuscript date, and which were organized, changed, altered and added to, by him at or around the manuscript date. What I am trying to caution against is the idea that all the thoughts came out spontaneously in 1949, or whatever. What came out then would have been effort to create the manuscript out of what existed in the notebooks and what not (adding, changing, splicing,
etc). One assumes that, had Wittgenstein lived 5 more years, he would have generated a typescript for all of the psychological writings. Typescripts were, essentially, book drafts.

(Again, my knowledge of this comes from Monk's biography. I need to look more carefully at the actual library of Wittgenstein's writings which are now online so that I can more directly talk about this stuff.)            
 
Anywhoo, will read "latest writings" when it comes in the mail!

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html



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[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer and Behaviorism [message #4275 is a reply to message #4271] Sun, 04 April 2010 13:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:
>
> (Reply to Stuart)
>
> ... I had not realized that these remarks on psychology were so voluminous. All I have on my shelf are the Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, Volume II. I'm such an idiot, I didn't even realize that they were "Volume II."

> <snip>
 
> Anywhoo, will read "latest writings" when it comes in the mail!
>
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.

Yes, we do differ on the relative value of some of his pre-pub material. I hopped over to amazon and did some inside the book searches and, frankly, was a little disappointed with what I saw. Of course, it's too piecemeal to form any kind of serious judgment but it does remind me that a lot of Wittgenstein's work-in-progress stuff got published after his death (as you know my in-depth readings were done mostly in the sixties and very early seventies when much less was available) and so is not always a reliable picture of his best thinking.

My interest at this point is more to do with how his approach to questions of subjectness might differ or support some of the positions currently being discussed. That's why I put a new poll up on this for those with access to it and a mind to reply. (I do note that Yahoo seems to have introduced a new feature that mixes up the order in which we pose the questions. This may be helpful in getting a more reliable response but I think it also makes it harder to follow the possible answers.)

Anyway, I look forward to your comments on the new book (though I see from amazon that it's been published at least since 1994 so newness is only relative here).

SWM

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[Wittrs] Re: The value of Manuscripts in "Wittgenstein's Approach" [message #4276 is a reply to message #4275] Sun, 04 April 2010 15:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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(Stuart)

... well, I suppose you are going to have to reconcile your desire for finding "his approach" to the issue you like with your other apparent desire to not favor his manuscripts.  Where I think you are fundamentally wrong about this lies in the fact that if he were here today, one could not even ask him the question directly, under your theory. You know, it is quite common to find a good orientation to a philosophical outlook by simply interviewing the person. Imagine having Wittgenstein at the coffee table for about 15 minutes. Instead of having that, you have him, by himself, writing in his notebooks -- "talking to himself," as it were. And then, you have him harvesting those things into manuscripts. Why in God's name one would ever besmirch such things when wanting a better account of "his approach" remains clearly beyond me.

If the man scribbled something in crayon in a coloring book, I'd throw it in the bucket.

I think what you are really saying is that you want something in the form of an exposition, or a composition, or a summary by him on this matter. It's as if you want him to do that poll.   

The other thing to keep in mind is that, with Wittgenstein, the so-called "finished work" -- if there ever was such a thing -- doesn't really make the points more clearer. One could argue they make them more in dispute. Wittgenstein seems to me to be the quintessential philosopher where biography and notebooks and historicism is needed to uncover what the central insights are.

So my point would be that even if Wittgenstein generated a typescript out of the psychological material, we would still need the manuscripts and notebooks, just to see what changed and what surrounded it all. Which is also why you need the testimonials (from students and what not) regarding the things he was saying.  

P.S. My look at the random pages didn't give the same impression. They looked "normal," except that the editors appear to have done a good job cross-citing. I saw numerous references to comments in other works.

Regards and thanks

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html

----- Original Message ----
From: SWM <SWMirsky@aol.com>
To: wittrsamr@freelists.org
Sent: Sun, April 4, 2010 1:55:12 PM
Subject: [Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer and Behaviorism

Yes, we do differ on the relative value of some of his pre-pub material. I hopped over to amazon and did some inside the book searches and, frankly, was a little disappointed with what I saw. Of course, it's too piecemeal to form any kind of serious judgment but it does remind me that a lot of Wittgenstein's work-in-progress stuff got published after his death ...  and so is not always a reliable picture of his best thinking.

My interest at this point is more to do with how his approach to questions of subjectness might differ or support some of the positions currently being discussed. That's why I put a new poll up on this for those with access to it and a mind to reply.



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[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer, Behaviorism [message #4277 is a reply to message #4265] Sun, 04 April 2010 16:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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(Stuart)

... I have not read a thing regarding this debate. So if you are wanting my response, it would help if there would be an example given of what actual philosophic problem supposedly exists here. I imagine there is no such problem at all. As to Wittgenstein's general account of the ideologies that surround these matters, he would have none of either. He's not a "behaviorist" in the brute sense of the idea, and he is not a "folk psychologist" in the sense of a "little man in the head." Both of these pictures are flawed. Of course, one of the big problems with "behaviorism" is that people who go by this label often invent ways of speaking about things that are ostensibly "non-behaviorist," according to the ways people shunning the label speak (about the very same things!!). And so you have a nasty language entanglement going on.

Here's some good excerpts and quotes on inner/outer and "behaviorism."  

BOOK REVIEW
"This collection [clarifies] the radical break that Wittgenstein's philosophy of psychology makes with the pseudo-science promoted in many university departments. Reading these writings ... one realizes how clearly Wittgenstein had grasped the vacuity of the Cartesianism that inspired both behaviorism (and its descendants in 'experimental' psychology) and phenomenology. ... " [review of Last Writings, Volume I, on back cover]

RAY MONK, HOW TO READ WITTGENSTEIN
"As Wittgenstein anticipated (see 307 above), he was interpreted as a behaviourist, as someone who believed that we had to accept that what we meant by pain was simply the behavior characteristic of someone in pain AND NOTHING ELSE. In paragraph 304 he tried to pull the rug from under this egregious misunderstanding:

[start 304 quote] 'But you will surely admit that there is a difference between pain-behavior accompanied by pain and pain behavior without any pain?' -- Admit it? What greater difference could there be? -- 'And yet you again and again reach the conclusion that the sensation itself is a NOTHING.' -- Not at all. It is not a SOMETHING, but not a NOTHING either! The conclusion was only that a nothing would serve just as well as a something about which nothing could be said. We have only rejected the grammar which tries to force itself on us here.

The paradox disappears only if we make a radical break with the idea that language always functions in one way, always serves the same purpose: to convey thoughts -- which may be about houses, pains, good and evil, or anything else you please. [end 304 quote]

The mistake Wittgenstein himself made in Tractatus Logico Philosophicus and the mistake Augustine made in Confessions is the mistake we ALL make when we want to counter behaviorism with some suggestion of the sort that thoughts, desires, etc., are not NOTHING. No, they are not nothing, and they are not identical with behaviour either. But neither are they THINGS, and the only reason we want to be things is that we are committed to a faulty view of language, one that thinks that to every meaning word there must correspond some OBJECT. "  (p.92-93)

RAY MONK, HOW TO READ WITTGENSTEIN
"... Dostoevsky writes regarding Father Zossima, a character in the novel, The Brothers Karamazov:

'It was said that, by permitting everyone for so many years to come to bare their hearts and beg his advice and healing words, he had absorbed so many secrets, sorrows and avowls into his soul that in the end he had acquired so fine a perception that he could tell at the first glance from the face of a stranger what he had come for, what he wanted and what kind of torment racked his conscience.' 

When Drury read this passage out, Wittgenstein remarked, 'Yes, there really have been people like that, who could see directly into the souls of other people and advise them.'

An inner process stands in need of outward criteria,' runs one of the most often quoted aphorisms of Philosophical Investigations, an aphorism that many have cited in support of the notion that Wittgenstein was some sort of behaviourist, an interpretation that needs to be resisted. One way of resisting it is to realize what an emphasis Wittgenstein placed on the need for sensitive perception of those 'outward criteria' in all their imponderability." [See W on imponderable evidence.]

FROM LATEST WRITINGS, VOL II (the one you aren't sure about)

Wittgensein considers what it would be like to be inside another's thoughts or mind. He writes,

"Even if I were not to hear everything that he is saying to himself, I would know as little what his words were referring to as if I read one sentence in the middle of a story. Even if I knew everything now going on within him, I still wouldn't know, for example, to whom the names and images in this thoughts related ....

It's only in particular cases that the inner is hidden from me ... and in those cases it is not hidden because it is 'inner'

... Indeed, often I can describe inner, as I perceive it, but not his outer."

Regards and thanks.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer, Behaviorism [message #4280 is a reply to message #4277] Sun, 04 April 2010 18:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
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... that's "now," not "not."  And it is "his," not "this"
=========================== 

"Even if I were not [<-- NOW] to hear everything that he is saying to himself, I would know as little what his words were referring to as if I read one sentence in the middle of a story. Even if I knew everything now going on within him, I still wouldn't know, for example, to whom the names and images in this [<--HIS] thoughts related ....

It's only in particular cases that the inner is hidden from me ... and in those cases it is not hidden because it is 'inner'

... Indeed, often I can describe inner, as I perceive it, but not his outer."

======================

This is just a rogue set of passages, not necessarily very near to each other. I don't have the book yet, so I'm stuck with Monk quoting certain things until it arrives. But my sense here is the following:

Wittgenstein would be denying the Vulcan mind-meld here. He would be saying that if such a meld were performed, Spock could only be a spectator to the events, not "possessed" of it. In other words, what Spock would see would not be that different in KIND from the sort of thing he sees when examining the person with his 5 senses. So, if he is confused about what he sees outwardly, seeing inward would not necessarily remedy the confusion. This is because, to understand the inward, one would have need to have lived it.

(This sort of treats "seeing inward" as intercepting a radio broadcast. You'd be midstream in the broadcast, and what you encountered there would be made sense of just the same as what you saw of the person's behavior. It's like having a feed to the coaches who call football plays while watching the game. What you see from the feed is really the same sort of thing that you see on the field. You might have extra information, but it doesn't make you the equivalent of "the person")  

We imagine that if someone could occupy our minds, that they could be us. This is merely a picture we deploy. If I were to occupy another's mind, and still have my own -- key premise -- what I would find there "on the inside" would only make sense to what I already know of my own experience with my own mind, and would only give me the same sort of "evidence" that I get when reflecting about these things as I do when witnessing the person's outwardly behavior. I have to imagine certain things transpiring.

Wittgenstein says, in effect, that we do get good at knowing "other people's minds" the sense that we come to properly know our children. This comes to us through the development of insight and experience in the form of life in this world -- and this development is surely not equal among all people. Some are much better. The thing we use to understand others (minds?) is something called "imponderable evidence."  This chain of inference is the same or similar to what makes good connoisseurs or artisans.  A mother's intuition is the same sort of thing as a designer's eye for fashion. It's the same kind of cognitive faculty.   

One quick clarification. I don't mean to say that Wittgenstein thinks there couldn't ever be a Vulcan mind-meld. What I mean to say is that if WE could peer into the minds of others, this would be the result for us (radio, no meld). Perhaps "God" could be thought to have this sort of power.

Regards.    



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[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein Meets Searle and Dennett [message #4281 is a reply to message #4265] Sun, 04 April 2010 18:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
iro3isdx is currently offline  iro3isdx
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:


> Does anyone have an opinion on where Wittgenstein would have come
> down on the Searle-Dennett dispute which has been raging for some
> time now on this list (and some earlier ones)?

I am guessing that he would have thought it a foolish waste of time.

Regards,
Neil

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[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer, Behaviorism [message #4282 is a reply to message #4277] Sun, 04 April 2010 19:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:

> (Stuart)
>
> ... I have not read a thing regarding this debate. So if you are wanting my response, it would help if there would be an example given of what actual philosophic problem supposedly exists here. I imagine > there is no such problem at all.


The dispute is whether science can get at what it takes to have a mind, to have consciousness, whether we can conceive of consciousness as part of the rest of the physical universe or whether it requires that we posit that the universe must have something added to it that is above and beyond the physical in order to have minds in it.



> As to Wittgenstein's general account of the ideologies that surround these matters, he would have none of either. He's not a "behaviorist" in the brute sense of the idea, and he is not a "folk psychologist" in the sense of a "little man in the head." Both of
> these pictures are flawed.


I hope it won't surprise you to learn that I agree with that view!


> Of course, one of the big problems with "behaviorism" is that people who go by this label often invent ways of speaking about things that are ostensibly "non-behaviorist," according to the ways people shunning the label speak (about the very same things!!). And so you have a nasty language entanglement going on.
>

Yes. I do think much of this has to do with confusions in the way we are led to speak of these matters.

> Here's some good excerpts and quotes on inner/outer and "behaviorism."  
>

> BOOK REVIEW
> "This collection [clarifies] the radical break that Wittgenstein's philosophy of psychology makes with the pseudo-science promoted in many university departments. Reading these writings ... one realizes how clearly Wittgenstein had grasped the vacuity of the Cartesianism that inspired both behaviorism (and its descendants in 'experimental' psychology) and phenomenology. ... " [review of Last Writings, Volume I, on back cover]
>

> RAY MONK, HOW TO READ WITTGENSTEIN
> "As Wittgenstein anticipated (see 307 above), he was interpreted as a behaviourist, as someone who believed that we had to accept that what we meant by pain was simply the behavior characteristic of someone in pain AND NOTHING ELSE. In paragraph 304 he tried to pull the rug from under this egregious misunderstanding:
>

> [start 304 quote] 'But you will surely admit that there is a difference between pain-behavior accompanied by pain and pain behavior without any pain?' -- Admit it? What greater difference could there be? -- 'And yet you again and again reach the conclusion that the sensation itself is a NOTHING.' -- Not at all. It is not a SOMETHING, but not a NOTHING either! The conclusion was only that a nothing would serve just as well as a something about which nothing could be said. We have only rejected the grammar which tries to force itself on us here.
>

Here he is getting at the problem of applying our usual linguistic categories to so-called mental phenomena, to our subjective lives. Language is not formed on that basis and so doesn't suit it well.

> The paradox disappears only if we make a radical break with the idea that language always functions in one way, always serves the same purpose: to convey thoughts -- which may be about houses, pains, good and evil, or anything else you please. [end 304 quote]
>

Yes.

> The mistake Wittgenstein himself made in Tractatus Logico Philosophicus and the mistake Augustine made in Confessions is the mistake we ALL make when we want to counter behaviorism with some suggestion of the sort that thoughts, desires, etc., are not NOTHING. No, they are not nothing, and they are not identical with behaviour either. But neither are they THINGS, and the only reason we want to be things is that we are committed to a faulty view of language, one that thinks that to every meaning word there must correspond some OBJECT. "  (p.92-93)
>


Wittgenstein repeatedly refers to our thoughts, our pictures, etc. This is not the language of a behaviorist.

> RAY MONK, HOW TO READ WITTGENSTEIN
> "... Dostoevsky writes regarding Father Zossima, a character in the novel, The Brothers Karamazov:
>
> 'It was said that, by permitting everyone for so many years to come to bare their hearts and beg his advice and healing words, he had absorbed so many secrets, sorrows and avowls into his soul that in the end he had acquired so fine a perception that he could tell at the first glance from the face of a stranger what he had come for, what he wanted and what kind of torment racked his conscience.' 
>
> When Drury read this passage out, Wittgenstein remarked, 'Yes, there really have been people like that, who could see directly into the souls of other people and advise them.'
>

> An inner process stands in need of outward criteria,' runs one of the most often quoted aphorisms of Philosophical Investigations, an aphorism that many have cited in support of the notion that Wittgenstein was some sort of behaviourist, an interpretation that needs to be resisted. One way of resisting it is to realize what an emphasis Wittgenstein placed on the need for sensitive perception of those 'outward criteria' in all their imponderability." [See W on imponderable evidence.]
>

Of course behaviorism is a theory and Wittgenstein eschewed theorizing in the course of philosophy.


> FROM LATEST WRITINGS, VOL II (the one you aren't sure about)
>
> Wittgensein considers what it would be like to be inside another's thoughts or mind. He writes,
>
> "Even if I were not to hear everything that he is saying to himself, I would know as little what his words were referring to as if I read one sentence in the middle of a story. Even if I knew everything now going on within him, I still wouldn't know, for example, to whom the names and images in this thoughts related ....
>


> It's only in particular cases that the inner is hidden from me ... and in those cases it is not hidden because it is 'inner'
>
> ... Indeed, often I can describe inner, as I perceive it, but not his outer."
>
> Regards and thanks.
>
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.

Thanks for the citations. Very useful.

SWM

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[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein Meets Searle and Dennett [message #4334 is a reply to message #4281] Wed, 07 April 2010 16:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
gabuddabout is currently offline  gabuddabout
Messages: 24
Registered: December 2009
Junior Member


--- In WittrsAMR@yahoogroups.com, "iro3isdx" <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
>
>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "SWM" <SWMirsky@> wrote:
>
>
> > Does anyone have an opinion on where Wittgenstein would have come
> > down on the Searle-Dennett dispute which has been raging for some
> > time now on this list (and some earlier ones)?
>
> I am guessing that he would have thought it a foolish waste of time.
>
> Regards,
> Neil


But thinking of weak AI as a philosophy of mind is a foolish waste of time. Better to think of weak AI as a project concerning how to get dumb things to do interesting and useful things, which is what Searle thinks of weak AI. Wouldn't Wittgenstein? Perhaps not. But why?

And I _wouldn't_ be guessing (if I knew Wittgenstein to be a man of getting down to business) that he would have seen Searle as an honest working philosopher who wasn't ashamed to say what little can be said in a way that made Dennett's "intentional stance" look like a parlor trick.

On the other hand, Wittgenstein once said that pain is both not a something an not a nothing--if it were anybody else, they would be dismissed as confused.

So my nonguess is that Witters would have seen Searle's position as both correct in one language game (philosophy, where truth matters greatly, if not really! LOL) while perhaps being a bit chatty in another (quietist) language game given Wittgenstein's Catholicism and learned wisdom from the honest Schopenhauer who viewed the understanding as having only one category (causality) with four roots (language games). Having said that, Schopenhauer relates that it would be arrogant if causality exhausted the contents of the world in itself. It may be the result of a free act for all we know. But as far as knowing is concerned, it must relate to causality. So....

Wittgenstein's quietism stems from Schopenhauer; and Wittgenstein's lets-get-down-to-business attitude, philosophically speaking, would amount to the brilliant philosophical writings of Searle, were he sane and productive enough to write the kind of good philosophical books that Searle demonstrated were possible--and thank you Wittgenstein!

But I'm biased! Just like Neil!

Cheers,
Budd

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[Wittrs] [C] Re: Wittgenstein on Inner/Outer, Behaviorism [message #4368 is a reply to message #4280] Fri, 09 April 2010 10:33 Go to previous message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
Messages: 188
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:

... that's "now," not "not."  And it is "his," not "this"
> =========================== 

> "Even if I were not [<-- NOW] to hear everything that he is saying to himself, I would know as little what his words were referring to as if I read one sentence in the middle of a story. Even if I knew everything now going on within him, I still wouldn't know, for example, to whom the names and images in this [<--HIS] thoughts related ....
>
> It's only in particular cases that the inner is hidden from me ... and in those cases it is not hidden because it is 'inner'
>
> ... Indeed, often I can describe inner, as I perceive it, but not his outer."
>
> ======================
>

Much of Wittgenstein's concern in the above seems to be addressed to the way language is used of course, given his focus on the role and form of our linguistic behaviors! He seems to be making the point that many of us would agree with here, i.e., that our linguistic uses are keyed to observable (public) criteria, even when applied to the subjectivity of other subjects or to our own subjective lives. And, indeed, we do talk about such things in this way.

When I report my pain I report a sensation, sometimes just by using a term that expresses the occurrence of that sensation as when "I am in pain" just means "ouch". But it doesn't always. I recall a doctor asking me what I am feeling, was I in pain when I was hospitalized a few years ago and then she wanted to know not just whether I hurt but precisely where in my body and what it felt like. In THAT sense I was being called upon to describe my sensation as if it were an observable phenomenon.

Of course, I had trouble doing that to my own satisfaction, as I have previously noted in discussions on this list, because I could find no word to match what I considered myself to be feeling. It wasn't "pain", not exactly, not as in breaking a bone or burning one's finger or getting knife cut. It was more a sensation of discomfort due to an abiding pressure. (Later I heard someone describe feeling a sense of coldness in one's throat with the pressure and recognized that as part of what I had experienced, too.) In the end, guessing what the doctors were seeking to hear, I said 'yes, pain, here' and gestured with my hand and that seemed to satisfy them. And yet if their understanding of "pain" is like mine, what I told them was misleading even though they duly recorded it in my medical record. Still, it gave them some apparently important information about what was happening to me.

Thus language breaks down in this sphere of operation, in describing our private (unshared and unshareable) experiences. When describing the mental lives of others, we have similar problems but, perhaps, not exactly the same. As Wittgenstein noted, our words about the mental lives of others are driven by the public criteria of their behavior. Thus one needn't doubt that others have minds merely because we cannot access the private aspect of their subjective experience because ascribing minds to others (a linguistic exercise) hinges, to a great extent, on the observable behaviors of others (which includes, of course, their verbal reports which are behaviors, too). Similarly, our references to our own mental lives can be seen as driven by observables, too (as shown in my difficulty when called upon to name a sensation in the hospital admissions process).

This Wittgensteinian focus on observable criteria, on behavior, is often taken to suggest that Wittgenstein was, therefore, a behaviorist. But I think this is far from an adequate reading of the man. He frequently alluded to aspects of our mental lives, to the pictures we have, to the thoughts we hold, to our recollections. His point, it seems to me, was not to say there are not referents for mental words but, rather, that the referencing language game when applied to mental phenomena simply works differently, i.e., that mental referents are not to be confused with referents in the public domain.

<snip>

Sean writes:

> Wittgenstein says, in effect, that we do get good at knowing "other people's minds" the sense that we come to properly know our children. This comes to us through the development of insight and experience in the form of life in this world -- and this development is surely not equal among all people. Some are much better. The thing we use to understand others (minds?) is something called "imponderable evidence."  This chain of inference is the same or similar to what makes good connoisseurs or artisans.  A mother's intuition is the same sort of thing as a designer's eye for fashion. It's the same kind of cognitive faculty.   
>


I think this is largely right. On a Wittgensteinian view, knowing another's mind, knowing his or her thoughts, etc., is a matter of reading behaviors in context though we often confuse the way we use words like "knowing" in this situation with how we use them in public spheres where shared observations are or can be made. And yes, there is a lot that happens implicitly here in our day to day observations, things not subject to conscious review, consideration and reasoning. Some things we just do and react to. If we encountered an alien and it acted conscious, we would take it to be though there is always the possibility we could be fooled, as we might by a clever ventriloquist or puppeteer with high-tech capabilities. That we could be fooled is not an argument against the idea that language is inherently public and only secondarily adapted to more subjective applications. Nor is it an argument for some other, more "certain" way of recognizing the presence of other minds.

Do we, on meeting another human being, first wonder if they are real, absent any contextual evidence qua reason to wonder? Unless there is some reason to doubt, we don't nor is there any reason we should. Yet philosophers for generations have been fooled by the shifting way language is used in different applications into thinking that all knowing is done the same way, dependent on the same rules and criteria, etc. Thus philosophical conundrums like the "problem of other minds" arise. Wittgenstein's strategy wipes the cobwebs of confusion away.

Sean again:

> One quick clarification. I don't mean to say that Wittgenstein thinks there couldn't ever be a Vulcan mind-meld. What I mean to say is that if WE could peer into the minds of others, this would be the result for us (radio, no meld). Perhaps "God" could be thought to have this sort of power.
>
>

As is well known by now, I am interested in the matter of consciousness but do not, thereby, refuse to deny the linguistic insights articulated by Wittgenstein about this phenomenon. Still, I am not of the opinion that that is the whole of it. It seems to me that if consciousness is a phenomenon in the world (as it manifestly is) then we ought to be able to study it and say things about it just as we are able to do with other phenomena we encounter. If science can study how the stars operate in the cosmos, how the earth goes round the sun, how weather happens and why, if science can study the emergence and speciation of living things and the interplay of matter and force in the realm of physics and how mathematical operations can be used to make machines operate, then why not how minds come to be and how they are related to the brains which are the locus for their occurrence?

Does such a view suggest an anti-Wittgensteinian approach or even a non-Wittgensteinian one? I would say not at all because there is no conflict here. So whether we can ultimately find a way to access other minds in a way that shares what was previously unshareable about them (as researchers like Stanislaus Dehaene and thinkers like Daniel Dennett propose) is not affected by Wittgenstein's insights about how we use language given the things we can now know in the world as we now have it.

But if the possibility of access to other minds, of even, say, a Vulcan mindmeld, were ever to become real, then our language would simply change to accommodate that reality. One thing to bear in mind with Wittgenstein is that he leaves everything as it is, as he often said, in his inquiry into how we speak and what that does to the ways we think about things. But if everything were to change, for whatever the reason, language and the answers we get to the inquiries we make into its use dimensions would change, too.

SWM

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